‘Jungle Book’ hitting stage

TRUMAN – A group of Truman students will combine their singing and dancing talents to present “The Jungle Book” this weekend at the Truman elementary auditorium.

“We’ve done this – off and on – for about 20 years,” said Jan Ringeisen, who co-chairs the group Stagemasters with Connie Smith. “It’s open to any kid that’s finished grade three through eight.”

Each summer, Stagemasters youngsters spend six hours a day for two weeks to prepare for the play. Steve Schlager, who also directs the high school stage production, is in his 17th year directing Stagemasters.

Ringeisen got involved with the theater project when her daughter was in second grade.

“She’s a college sophomore now,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

Kim Breamer, high school music instructor, teaches the cast the tunes for the play and serves as accompanist, while Barb Mager, a retired home economics teacher, makes the costumes. There was no art director available this year so the students will be crafting their own jungle set.

Although several school employees are involved in the play, it is not sponsored by the school.

“Stagemasters is an entity of its own,” Ringeisen said.

Anyone involved in the production automatically is a member.

“Any kid that tries out will have a part. It may not be a speaking part, but they will be on stage,” she said.

“There [are] 28 kids this year, which is a smaller group than we’ve had in the past.”

Ringeisen credits the longevity of the program to the children, their families and the many former Stagemasters who come back to volunteer their services.

“They’ve been really good,” she said. “The kids have been just great, and they work hard. We put them (plays) on in just two weeks. It’s amazing.”

The productions traditionally draw good crowds, Ringeisen said, and this year should be no exception, considering the popularity of the catchy music and the story.

Some concessions, all priced at $1 each, will be available.

Show times are 7 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday. Tickets, all general admission, are $6 for adults and $4 for students and may be purchased from Ringeisen, Smith, any cast member or at the door.